Biotechnology and the Pharmaceutical Industry New Cardiovascular Drugs
MARK D. DIBNER and PIETER B.M.W.M. TIMMERMANS
E. I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company, Wilmington, Delaware
THE pharmaceutical industry is in the midst of great change. Biotechnology, the use of living cells to produce commercial products, has had a strong influence on the industry. Composed of large, long-established corporations, the industry has had to recognize potential competition from a host of new, small companies founded to work with biotechnology.1'2 Additionally, a number of large corporations not previously engaged in pharmaceutical research, such as Kodak, Shell, Monsanto, and others, are now undertaking research and development in the life sciences, with an emphasis on biotechnology.1"3 In turn, most major pharmaceutical companies have begun implementing strategies to gain expertise in biotechnology.4 Although fermentation processes have been used for decades in the production of antibiotics, the new biotechnologies encompass two recently developed technologies. The first such process is recombinant DNA, or genetic engineering, used to create many desired proteins including enzymes, hormones, bioactive peptides, and other therapeutics. The second new technology, monoclonal antibody production, has been highly useful in the development of new, highly specific diagnostics and may be used in the creation of novel therapeutic agents. This review will concentrate on drugs produced by genetic engineering processes. These compounds are often novel, with protein or peptide structures that are quite different from many classic pharmaceuticals. To date, only four therapeutic agents produced by these new techniques have passed through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pipeline to the marketplace: insulin, human growth hormone, a-interferon, and hepatitis B vaccine.3 However, many other products of biotechnology are being developed, some of which will affect the cardiovascular system and will impact the therapies for hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, thrombosis, and hemophilia.
Hypertension 1986;8;965-970. Copyright: American Heart Association.